Choosing a SEO Company

I have read a number of articles on how to choose a SEO company. Most of them raise some valid points, including asking what tactics they will be using, and ensuring they will not be doing anything black hat.

But almost all of these articles put a lot of focus on what sort of rankings the SEO company is getting for their own site. I would argue that this is not as important as it may seem.

The SEO Company's Website

Choosing the SEO company that is number one for "SEO" or "SEO Company" in your relevant country is a likely sign that they know their stuff. When a SEO company has good rankings, this adds a lot of credibility to what they are saying. Great stuff.

But I consider the true measure of quality is what they can do with a client's website, on a limited budget. When a SEO company optimises their own website, countless man hours go into this, often over several years.

  • When a SEO company offers you a quote for 30 hours of SEO work, is it wise to expect similar results to what they are getting on their own site, which may have taken hundreds of hours?

  • Is it wise to expect results similar to a site that has been around for 5 years, when you are wanting optimisation for a brand new site on a brand new domain?

  • Is it likely that the SEO company with the best rankings is also the best value / best service / best ability for your particular requirements?

The Important Questions

When choosing a SEO company, I think the important question is "what can you do to a site like mine, with a budget like mine?".
Ask to see some sites similar to yours - sites of around the same size, similar age, or similar functionality, and where a similar budget was spent.

Once you ask this question, the SEO firm may show you a project that is not their best showpiece work, but a more accurate reflection of what to expect. Ask them to describe the project in detail to get a feel for the sort of techniques that were used, and whether a similar approach might be used on your site.

It's also good if the SEO firm can show you results they have achieved for clients. Search Engine Marketing firm, Apogee Search, shows a good example of this on their Google rankings page.

The bottom line - when you have 5k to spend on SEO, don't look for a SEO company that can achieve fantastic results with a 50k budget. Take the time to find the company that can produce the best results with the budget you have.

Clark Stanleys Snake Oil

A small word of caution

SEO related phrases tend to be more competetive than other phrases, and there are plenty of really good SEO companies that don't make it to page one in their own country for "SEO" or "SEO Services" or "SEO help".

But there are also plenty of "SEO specialists" out there that can't even get found for their own company name.

So you do need to see some results for some reasonable SEO related phrases. If it's not obvious, ask what phrases they are targeting, and go check the rankings yourself. For a SEO firm, good rankings are as much about credibility as they are about traffic.
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Tags: seo